Local NHS leaders echo national nurse chief's message to help keep patients and staff safe as restrictions lift

Date published: 17 July 2021

Senior NHS doctors and nurse leaders responsible for patient safety and infection prevention across four local hospitals and community healthcare services in Salford, Oldham, Bury and Rochdale are asking members of the public to continue to follow the ‘hands, face, space’ rules after 19 July, in a move to continue to keep staff and patients safe and secure.

The move follows the announcement made by England’s Chief Nurse, Ruth May, on Thursday (15 July) that everyone accessing or visiting healthcare settings must continue to wear a face covering and follow social distancing rules.

Libby McManus, Chief Nursing Officer at Northern Care Alliance NHS Group - which runs Rochdale Infirmary, Fairfield Hospital in Bury, The Royal Oldham Hospital and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust – has lent her support to the announcement, explaining why staff, patients and those attending hospital and community settings in these areas will still be asked to wear a mask, maintain social distancing and sanitise their hands wherever possible.

She explained: “For the past 18 months we’ve all worked incredibly hard to ensure we are keeping everyone as safe and secure as possible, reducing the risk of Covid-19 being spread between colleagues, patients and service users, and our local communities.

“Staff and patient safety and quality of care remains our top priority. Everyone should feel both safe and cared for in our hospitals and community settings. As restrictions lift across the country from next Monday, we will continue to ask people to follow our Covid bio-safety rules in our hospitals and those receiving support in the community.

“This will help continue to protect our patients and staff, continue to safeguard those who are most vulnerable, and to support our services enabling them to run as effectively and safely as possible as we aim to embark on a period of restoration and recovery.”


Hands Face Space


Libby’s plea comes as the country prepares for the removal of Covid-19-related restrictions from next Monday 19 July, and reiterates the ongoing need for people planning a visit to a hospital or local health setting to comply with the NCA’s IPC and biosecurity measures.

Since the implementation of the rules and as the pandemic has progressed, the NCA Group has seen a reduction in the rate and transmission of not only Covid-19, but has also recorded fewer cases of other viruses including flu, norovirus and C-difficile, and this has been partially attributed to the use of masks, social distancing and increased levels of cleanliness and sanitisation.

Dr Chris Brookes, Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Chief Executive for the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group echoed Libby’s appeal for continued support from the public, whilst thanking them for their efforts and consideration over the last year and a half.

He added: “I would like to thank our local communities personally for their commitment and contribution in following our IPC rules during the pandemic. Your support has meant that we have been able to keep our essential services running, keep control of the virus, and keep more of our patients and staff safe from harm, and we are grateful for your efforts.

“We’ve learned a great deal about infection prevention and control during this period and we know that the combination of wearing a mask, keeping socially distanced where possible, putting good ventilation practice in place, ensuring good ward and waiting area hygiene measures are in place, reducing crowding and implementing excellent hand hygiene standards, combined with regular staff lateral flow testing, means that we have kept more of our patients and staff safe from harm.

“This evidence means that we will continue to ask the public to help us to help them keep everyone safe, by maintaining this focus on our IPC guidance, enabling us to save and improve more lives as we move towards recovery. The Covid pandemic and the risk to our patients and staff is not over yet.”

For more information and guidance on attending NCA hospitals please visit www.northerncarealliance.nhs.uk.

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